UNDER THE RADAR PICKS BY SF SKETCHFEST FOUNDERS

Janet Varney
SF Sketchfest co-founder David Owen selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows happening on the first weekend of the festival.

Julie Brown Homecoming QueenDavid: My first pick is Brian McCann and his alcohol-fueled one-man variety show on Jan 23, 8pm at the Eureka Theatre. Brian is a former writer and sketch performer for ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien,’ and I always laughed SO HARD at his characters on that show, like ‘Preparation H Raymond,’ ‘S&M Abe Lincoln’ and ‘Robot on a Toilet.’ Everything about this man is funny.

philHendrie588x226Second, I’m really excited about Shouting at the Screen with Wyatt Cenac and Donwill, on Jan 23, 11pm at the Roxie Theatre. Wyatt and Donwill have chosen 1973 Blaxploitation action film “That Man Bolt” starring Fred Williamson that they will make fun of as it screens, and lead the audience in interactive games.

Van JamFinally, I’m always really proud of the SF Sketchfest Dozen series, which spotlights twelve of the top up-and-coming stand-up comedians. This is our fifth year of doing it, and in the past it has featured people like Chelsea Peretti, Kumail Nanjiani, Pete Holmes and Jen Kirkman. Our first two pairings happen Jan 23 and 24 at the Punch Line, with the awesome Mark Normand and Michelle Wolf on one show, and the equally awesome Sean Donnelly and Maronzio Vance on the other.”

Check Facebook for more staff selections and picks from the co-founders through out the fest.

UNDER THE RADAR PICKS BY SF SKETCHFEST FOUNDERS

Cole Stratton1
SF Sketchfest co-founder Cole Stratton selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows happening on the first weekend of the festival.

Julie Brown Homecoming QueenCole: “I’ll kick things off with Julie Brown’s “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Musical!” Julie Brown is a supremely talented and hilarious woman who not only starred in her own MTV series and films like “Earth Girls Are Easy” and “Shakes the Clown,” she’s also put out amazing musical comedy albums — she’s known for songs like “‘Cuz I’m a Blonde” and Homecoming Queen, which she fleshed out into a full-length, ridiculously funny and campy musical. The cast is amazing and you’ll have a great time. Two shows at Brava Theater on Jan 24, 7pm and 10pm.

philHendrie588x226Second, Phil Hendrie returns to the fest for two shows on Jan 23 at Stage Werx (7:30pm and 10pm). He’s known for his radio show in which he not only hosts as himself, but calls in as an array of crazy characters and carries on hilarious conversations — between himself. Onstage, it’s a jaw-dropping comedic turn that has to be seen to be believed!

Van Jam Finally, Van Jam! Hosted by The Spanglers (Jamie Flam and my Pop My Culture co-host Vanessa Ragland), it’s a great night of stand-up with a fantastic backing band that plays along while they do their sets, producing a great mash up of music and punchlines. The guests are top notch — Leo Allen, Jon Daly, Morgan Murphy and the great Emo Philips. See the s@%! out of it on Jan 24 at 10:30pm at Stage Werx.” 

Stay tuned for co-founders David Owen and Janet Varney to share their selections for this coming weekend.  

SF Sketchfest Staff Picks: Michelle O’Mirth, Volunteer Manager

Still combing the schedule for this year’s not-to-miss shows? To help you out, we’ve asked staff to share their picks for this year’s fest. 

Meet Michelle, our longest reigning staff member, after the founders. She’s a proud bibliophile, with a breadth of pointless facts, and a wordsmith (check out her greeting card line: Gobsmack’d Greetings) with a background in events: she used to juggle 150 a year! Her talents come together each year at SF Sketchfest, where she is our beloved Volunteer Manager, who occasionally moonlights as House Manager. Also, Michelle is a peaty scotch enthusiast, who would like you to know she wore glasses long before the nerd girl fanciers made it trendy again. If this resonates with you, check out her staff pick!

What you do for SFSF: Manage the SF Sketchfest volunteer army, wrangle lines, house manage venues, sell t-shirts, tell amusing anecdotes in the lobby, whatever is needed. 

# of SF Sketchfests you’ve worked: 13Almost all. I went to the first one as an audience member and then just stuck around doing this and that for each one after.

Show/Shows you’re most excited for this year: The Tribute to Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer

Why: I still fall into hysterics when I watch the Stonehenge scene in This Is Spinal Tap and I think Big Bottom is in the Top 25 on my iPod. And I love hearing talented people who create, comedy, art or whatever, talk shop.   

Favorite venue in SF: California Academy of Sciences

Favorite SF Sketchfest Moment: One of my favorite things over the years is seeing all the kids interested in comedy or improv who volunteer at SF Sketchfest because they love comedy and want to see shows, who then come back a few years later as performers in the festival. Talk about your circle of life, Mufasa.

Michelle O'Mirth
Michelle hard at work, scheduling SF Sketchfest Volunteer Shifts! 

Just added! “VEEP,” Christopher Lloyd, “Silicon Valley” and “Better Off Dead” understudies, including Jon Heder!

Just added!

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SF Sketchfest Tribute to “VEEP” with the cast
Saturday, February 7th, 7:30pm at The Castro Theatre
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SF Sketchfest Tribute
Christopher Lloyd
in conversation
with a 30th Anniversary screening of “Back to the Future”
Friday, February 6th, 9:30pm at The Castro Theatre
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“Silicon Valley” : The Pied Piper Panel
with Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani and Zach Woods
Saturday, January 31st, 4pm at Marines’ Memorial Theatre
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“Better Off Dead” 30th Anniversary Live Read
with writer/director Savage Steve Holland
and original cast members Curtis Armstrong, Kim Darby, Diane Franklin and Amanda Wyss
and guest understudies:
Jon Heder (as Lane Meyer, originated by John Cusack)
Fred Willard (as Mr. Meyer, originated by David Ogden Stiers)
Kevin Pollak (as Mr. Kerber, originated by Vincent Schiavelli)
Eddie Pepitone (as Rocko, originated by Chuck Vincent)
and in various roles: Paul F. Tompkins, Doug Benson, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney
Sunday, February 8th, 2pm at Marines’ Memorial Theatre
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More info on the schedule page!